Where to stay close to Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica – Samasati Nature Retreat
As I am getting more and more into yoga recently, I wanted to participate yet on another yoga retreat. I’ve heard that one of the best places for it on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is Samasati Nature Retreat close between Puerto Viejo and Cahuita towns.
Unfortunately, my plans changed a bit and instead of going on a yoga for solo travelers there, I missed my chance but decided to visit Samasati for a week anyway just to get the sense of yoga classes and the whole area.
As Samasati is situated in the heart of 250 acres of biological reserve, literally right in the jungle on a hill (not on the beach like some people think), I thought I was going to catch up with some travel blogging over there as it was the last week for me traveling solo until my friend/assistant would join me for the next 4 weeks.
I thought I was not going to get distracted over there as the bungalows are located in the middle of the jungle. To be honest, at first I thought there was not much to do over there …
I knew there was no point for me to go down to Puerto Viejo or to any beach (even though the beaches in the area are my favorite ones out of all the Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica) those days when staying at Samasati. There is a daily shuttle leaving at 10 am to Puerto Viejo and returning at 3 pm that I could take, but exploring the area for a few weeks it would be really illogical to go down there if I could just spend my time working online.
But then, I found out just a day before going to Samasati that there is no wifi at the bungalows nor at the restaurant. The only place where wifi works is in the office downhill where is the entrance to the Samasati property. You can take a free shuttle up and down the hill from the restaurant to the office throughout the day, that’s true but still it’s not very comfortable for a digital nomad not having wifi all around me.
However, once I got to Samasati from Cariblue hotel, I realized I was so stressed out about having so much work than I could not really concentrate and instead of being productive, the stress was causing procrastination.
Already at the first dinner there when talking to Tara, a solo Canadian guest of my age, and Jasmine, the spa therapist, they opened my eyes. Silvia, one of the Samasati owners, just nailed the idea into my head.
”Alex, think about it. You are here for a reason. The wifi doesn’t work in your bungalow for a reason. Just relax and enjoy everything we have here. Your work is not going to go anywhere.”
And all three of them were right … I came to Samasati for a reason I only found out once I got there … It was time to recharge my batteries in nature.
It was time to find the better connection in the forest than the wifi one could provide 🙂
What I liked about Samasati Nature Retreat:
- cuisine – they were so accommodating with my vegan/raw vegan diet. At the beginning the cooks were really preparing me special meals or just meals without cheese and milk on the side of the non-vegetarian meals. For the first time ever I even saw raw zucchini pesto pasta served at a hotel ever (I make a similar one back home so I was jumping like a happy kid when I saw it there for dinner.) Also, I introduced this just fruit with cinnamon for breakfast and lunch there at Samasati (cinnamon keeps your blood sugar equal all the time – to find out more, check out my Fit when Traveling blog.) I also taught girls what to eat if they are having sweet cravings – the best healthy dessert ever are cacao beans with honey and cinnamon 🙂
- bungalows – I had the whole bungalow number 4 for myself only. It was so sweet! I had a double bed upstairs where I could watch sunrise over the sea when it was not cloudy; and if I ever got bored, I had another 2 single beds downstairs.
- wildlife – I am sure my best fans/readers know me already which means that you all know I am crazy about animals. They just make me so happy! Watching hummingbirds, big black grasshoppers, butterflies, dragonflies, agoutis, fire flies, toucans, howler and capuchin monkeys, or even great kiskadee birds that remind me of my great mornings at Blue Osa was just an incredible experience for me.
- jacuzzi – unfortunately, there is no swimming pool at Samasati, which is maybe the only thing I really miss there as I love swimming, but at least there’s a cool jacuzzi with the best views of the sea, Hone Creek and Puerto Viejo towns.
- spa – some nice treatments are offered at Samasati spa which is set right in the jungle. I was really nicely surprised about the very fair prices as many good hotels tend to overprice the spa treatments but Samasati ones are very affordable. Thumbs up!
- hiking trails – Samasati property offers a bunch of nice, not very difficult yet enjoyable trails in the nature. I can highly recommend the waterfall trail that is pretty easy downhill on the way there and you can end it with a swim in the natural pool down there. After refreshing the hike up the hill back to your bungalow will be way easier. And we even saw a lot of cute small yet poisonous red frogs there.
- yoga classes – I took yoga classes with both Max and Stephanie and even though they have a very different way of teaching, I can honestly say I had fun at both of them. There’s 2 yoga classes daily and making it to one of them per day was a huge achievement for me as yoga is becoming an important part of my life. The good thing is both the Yoga Studio and the Meditation Hall (2 separate buildings) are open all day long so you can even go there and practice on your own, if you choose so. And there’s mosquito nets all around the buildings which makes the savana relaxation easier as you can stay still with no bugs annoying you.
- views – like I mentioned, the jacuzzi and also the restaurant and bungalow views are pretty awesome. Great for sunrise and also at night it was cool to see the towns lit down there.
- family atmosphere – we all felt like within family and even though a week was not enough to develop such a strong connection with the staff as I did back at Blue Osa hotel where I stayed for 6 weeks, I still looked forward to seeing the Samasati staff every single day. And, I had the best goodbye when Oldemar, one of the staff, sang gospel for me. It was like a little private concert. My heart melted.
- dogs and Estela cat – I believe there were 7 dogs when I visited. The brown Labrador family was my favorite, I just could not walk around them and not to go and pet them when seeing their cute eyes. And I am not a cat person at all, but Estela, the white and orange cat at Samasati was a sweetheart too. I’ve never seen a cat sitting with its front paws over the rail. It looked so human-like! I just liked staring at what Estela was doing, expect when she kept coming each time she caught a gecko or a grasshopper and ate a limb of theirs.
- flowers – OMG, there’s different jungle flowers all around Samasati. Yellow, red, purple, orange, violet ones … you will find many around you and also the bungalows are decorated with them.
- potable water – there’ fresh water tanks available at the restaurant so you can refill your bottles whenever needed, highly appreciated.
- like I mentioned already – the free shuttle down and up the hill to the office and also Puerto Viejo free shuttle so even though Samasati Nature Retreat is not located on the coast but on the hill, you can still go to town to do shopping or spend a few hours at the beach and it’s all included in your package price.
- inspirational sayings – a different one for every day
Samasati Nature Retreat is not only famous for the beautiful location but most of all for its yoga classes, yoga teacher trainings and yoga retreats done by both Max and Stephanie.
If you are thinking of a yoga retreat, there’s a few good ones scheduled in Samasati for the next few months, such as Samasati yoga retreat for solo travelers (in May and September), yoga for partners (in June) or even yoga for women (June and September). I am sure you would find the best one for you 🙂